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Many target localization techniques based on received signal strength indicator (RSSI) assume a prior knowledge of a channel model and its parameters for an area where a target node is localized. This is a limiting factor since an intensive pre- measurement campaign is required to determine the model and its parameters. Basing on channel measurement campaigns in different areas we confirmed that the variation in the RSSIs of the IEEE 802.15.4 signal can be described by a two-layer model. We therefore propose a novel target localization method with no prior knowledge of model parameter values. The method is based on a joint maximum likelihood target localization and channel model parameters estimation. The proposed method was experimentally verified in real environments and the results show that the location estimation accuracy outperforms the accuracy of the conventional method where the values of the channel model parameters are known in advance.